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High court urged to hear Delphi case

Rep. Ryan, 16 legislators file brief

Seventeen members of Congress have joined the legal fight of thousands of Delphi salaried retirees at the nation’s highest court as they urge it to consider their case against the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and its takeover of the retirees’ pension plan when the auto-parts maker went bankrupt.

The bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers led by Dayton Republican U.S. Mike Turner filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing a review is in order because they claim:

l A lower court that dismissed the case brought by the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association “failed to properly consider the history and circumstances” when it determined the retirees did not have a property interest in their vested, but unfunded benefit; and

l The precedent set by the PBGC and the U.S. Treasury Department in not fully funding the pensions “serves to undermine public confidence in government-sponsored pension insurance and Executive Agency action during a financial crisis,” the filing states.

Other lawmakers from Ohio who joined the filing were U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Howland; Bill Johnson, R-Marietta; Steve Chabot, R, Cincinnati; and Warren Davidson, R-Troy; and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

“For over a decade, Delphi salaried retirees have suffered economic hardship and stress with the fallout of a decision that stripped our workers of the benefits they earned,” Ryan said. “I’ve worked with my my colleagues on both sides of the aisle since Day One to right this injustice and press administration officials from both parties to get these pensions fully restored.”

In the same effort, Ryan said, is why he joined in the filing “that thoroughly details the need to deliver justice for the thousands of Ohioans who deserve the pensions they were promised.”

Johnson said, “The Delphi salaried pensioners deserve to receive what they earned and were promised by the PBGC — anything less is absolutely unacceptable. Along with my colleagues, I will continue putting this issue at the forefront, and now we’re asking the Supreme Court to step in.”

The association in July asked the Supreme Court to consider the case filed in 2009, when the PBGC took responsibility for the pensions after Delphi, which at one time was part of General Motors’ parts division, emerged from bankruptcy.

GM continued contributing to union-represented retirees, but salaried retirees were left with substantially reduced pensions, some by as much as 70 percent. About 1,500 local salaried retirees were affected.

The most recent development in the matter involves Ryan, Turner and other lawmakers who represent areas with affected constituents taking a legislative approach to fix the problem and restore the pensions.

In October, Turner told the Dayton Daily News for the first time, real legislation is being negotiated.

Ryan said if legislation materializes, it more than likely would be included in another bill, not standalone legislation. There could be a couple of opportunities this year to attach to bills leaving Congress, but Ryan at the same time warned against getting hopes too high.

It followed news a review of the terminated pension plans of the Biden administration determined that congressional action would be needed to restore the lost pensions.

That came in August after Ryan, Portman and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, among other lawmakers, urged the administration to report back with a status on former President Donald Trump’s memo to review the matter.

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